The principal of John Monash Science School sees connections with Asia and learning from high performing schools and systems in Asia as an investment in students' perceptions and a widening of their perspectives so that they come to life beyond school far better informed and prepared.
Sister school connections
Learning about culture through sister school connections led to greater engagement and improved learning outcomes for students. People-to-people contacts made learning about Asia and learning an Asian language more authentic and engaging. Teachers were able to bring the curriculum alive and help other teachers to do so.
Meeting students and teachers from China who visited the school as a result of the sister school connection had a significant impact on the students of Maffra Secondary College – it changed their understanding of the world, says the principal of the college.
Participation in the Overseas Study Program resulted in language programs that have greater relevance to and are more highly regarded by students (and teachers).
As a result of engagement in the Overseas Study Program, Canterbury Primary School students are learning Mandarin but they are doing so as a means of engaging with Asia. There is an expectation that students can engage with 'real people' and that they now have the opportunity to travel, as the first group prepare to travel to China to visit the sister school in late 2013.
Using ICT to connect students with students
The number of teachers who said that they used ICT to connect students with students was nearly the same as those who said they had a strong ongoing connection with their sister school. Having a strong sister school partnership and connecting students with students seems to go hand in hand.